Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' / Bess Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' is an exceptionally slow-growing cultivar of Hinoki cypress. The plant is densely-branched with a narrow conical shape. It grows only about an inch (2.5 cm) a year. Bob Fincham notes that he has one of the original propagations of 'Bess' at Coenosium Gardens. It is about 50 years old and only 6 feet (2 m) tall and less than 3 feet (1 m) wide.

This cultivar originated as a seedling selected in 1983 by Joe Reis of Malverne, Long Island, New York.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' was named for a very special person. Elizabeth Reis, affectionately called Bess by her husband Joe and all who knew her. She was married to Joe for many years and took care of him when he became ill and passed away. This cultivar is as special as its namesake. Although the plant can be difficult to locate, it is well worth the hunt.

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Attribution from: Robert L. Fincham; Small Conifers for Small Gardens; ©2011 Coenosium Press

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' at the Flora Wonder Arboretum at Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery, Gaston, Oregon.
Photo by Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Bess' a nice, textured, mature specimen.
Photo by Bill Barger

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